“I’ve always said that I would be pleased to join a great club like PSG. Come to Paris? I hope so. It is true that it would please me. It’s part of my dreams. I try to watch all their matches, especially in the Champions League.”
Mauricio Pochettino during interview with French radio station RMC.
Talk about kicking Spurs fans when they are down. Just a couple of days after Tottenham’s unlikely title chances were all but extinguished by West Brom, their misery was compounded by the news that their charismatic manager is already thinking about his next career move.
If Pochettino is indeed already openly contemplating life after the Lane, he is going to make life very difficult for himself. Spurs fans will try to be philosophical about the quotes from RMC, but any poor run of results Spurs have over the next 12 months will immediately be attributed to an apparent lack of total commitment to his job. Pochettino has made that bed for himself.
With just a couple of sentences, Pochettino has transformed Spurs from super-power in the making to a perennial footballing stepping stone once again. And that isn’t the least bit hyperbolic or over dramatic.
If Pochettino sees Spurs as a means to an end and a spring board to what he perceives are bigger and better things, then who’s to say that mind-set won’t transfer to a playing staff that seem to hang on his every word?
“If the boss doesn’t see Tottenham as a club where he can realise his ambitions, then why should we?”
Pochettino’s managerial career has been on a steep upward trajectory since his time at Espanyol and even though Spurs aren’t considered to be among Europe’s elite right now, they have been making giant strides in their attempts to get there. A squad packed with burgeoning talent and potential super stars, a brand new stadium in the works and of course one of the game’s best young managers – Spurs looked like they were on the up and up.
But to reach and stay at Europe’s top table, you need to consistently hang on to your top talents. Traditionally Spurs have regularly lost their best players to more successful clubs. Once a club has an established reputation as a “selling club”, it can prove a near impossible tag to shake. Teddy Sheringham, Sol Campbell, Michael Carrick, Robbie Keane, Dimitar Berbatov, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale all left White Hart Lane in search of trophies. Some were more successful than others in their pursuits, but all of their departures were huge blows to Spurs aspirations.
But this latest Spurs team felt different. Whereas Tottenham teams of the past decade were built around star players and individualism, Pochettino’s side have given new power to the word “team”. Their hard work and determination is balanced perfectly with a quality and dynamism. And even though Leicester will win the title, to me Spurs still look the better team. I can pay no bigger compliment to them.
Up until today, you could see a clear path for their youthful side, it was easy to imagine them continuing to grow and develop together, but now their future looks less than straightforward. Instead of lifting trophies in resplendent white, it’s suddenly far more conceivable to imagine Delli Alli wearing Chelsea blue, Harry Kane United red and Christian Eriksen in Barca two-tone.
Spurs fans will maintain that comments like Pochettino made today are of the “throwaway” variety and they will be confident of keeping their popular manager for the duration of his contract. However the realists among them will know that they are set for a summer of apprehension and doubt, especially if PSG look to replace Laurent Blanc after the Parisians early Champions League exit this season.
With Jose Mourinho looking all set for the hot seat at Old Trafford, Pochettino will be out on his own as PSG’s number one target. And despite Spurs looking and feeling like a job half done for the Argentinean, it would surely prove difficult for Pochettino to turn down a return to the club he once captained, especially after his libidinous interview comments.
Pochettino will be savvy enough to realize the impact his comments would have. His comments today can only be categorized as a “come and get me” plea to PSG. With two sentences he has clouded what looked like a bright Spurs future.
“Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall.”
― Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls